Written by Vladimir Moss



     On May 18/31, 2009 the Cyprianites, otherwise known as “the Holy Synod in Resistance” published on their website their final summing-up of their failed dialogue with the True Orthodox Church of Greece under Archbishop Chrysostom of Athens.[1]In this document, while making some fairly minor concessions to the True Orthodox, the Cyprianites in essence refused to abandon their false ecclesiology, “making excuse for excuses in sin” (Psalm 140.4). However, it will be worth examining it, for it gives us the opportunity to pinpoint their divergence from Orthodox teaching.


     But first let us look at their concessions. The most important of these is that the Cyprianites admit that their “walling off” themselves from communion with the rest of the True Orthodox in 1984 was “hasty” (point 6.2). In other words, it was wrong. Of course, if it was hasty and wrong, then it should be reversed. But the Cyprianites do not do this. They excuse themselves on the grounds that they did it “in good faith” (?), and they offer this grudging apology only “for the sake of peace and reconciliation”. So it does not amount to repentance or a return from schism. Nevertheless, any conscientious Cyprianite who loves the truth will examine this concession and draw the conclusion: the founding act of the Cyprianite Synod – its separation from the True Orthodox Church of Greece in 1984 – was “hasty”, wrong, uncanonical and schismatic in essence.


     The second concession is that they reject the idea of New Calendarism as being the “mother Church” (6.4). This expression, the Cyprianites admit, was “inexpert”. In other words, it was wrong. The question then arises: if the new calendarist church of Greece is not the Cyprianites’ “mother Church”, then what is? The answer can only be: the True Orthodox Church of Greece.


     The third concession is that they undertake not to give Divine Communion to the new calendarists before they have been incorporated into true Orthodoxy (6.5). For the Cyprianites, however, this is not a concession, because they claim to have decreed this already.


     The fourth concession is that they agree not to use in future the expression “ailing members of the Church” to refer to heretics (6.8). If only the Cyprianites had gone a little further and admitted that this expression was wrong, then they would have freed from themselves from the charge of ecclesiological heresy – a heresy that I have called “the heresy of ecclesiastical elitism”.[2]However, they claim that this teaching of theirs has been “misunderstood” (without explaining how they have been supposedly misunderstood), and promise to refrain from proclaiming it in future only “for the sake of peace”. Until they recognize that they must refrain from proclaiming, not only for the sake of peace, but also for the sake of the truth, without which no peace can be deep and lasting, we must conclude that their adherence to this heresy, though weaker than before, remains…


     It is because they still adhere to their ecclesiological heresy that the Cyprianites refuse to accept the demand of the True Orthodox Church of Greece that they accept “the validity of the condemnation of Ecumenism by the Russian Church Abroad and by the Church of the True Orthodox Christians of Greece”. They fear to anathematize the heretics because they continue to believe that they are still inside the Church, albeit “ailing”, “low” members of it. Moreover, in this document they produce a further justification of this elitist, “sitting on the fence” strategy: they reject the authority of any existing Synod to anathematize heretics. Thus they write that “so great a right and ‘dignity’ is ‘granted’ only to the choir of the Apostles ‘and those who have truly become their successors in the strictest sense, full of Grace and power’ (St. John Chrysostomos)”. And they go on: “We are unable to understand this hasty tendency in our day to anathematize and condemn, since until such successors come into existence, ‘everyone who is Orthodox in every respect anathematizes every heretic potentially, even if not verbally’ (St. Theodore the Studite)” (6.10).


     I have criticized this position in detail elsewhere.[3]If there is no Synod in the world today which has the Grace and power to anathematize heretics, then the One, Holy, Catholic Church – God forbid! - has lost her power to bind and to loose! Then even if the Antichrist were to appear and pronounce himself to be God today, the Church on earth would have no power to anathematize him! Away with such blasphemy, such manifest lack of faith in the power and dignity of the Church! If, as St. Theodore says, “everyone who is Orthodox anathematizes every heretic potentially, even if not verbally”, then a fortiori the hierarchs have the Church have the power to anathematize every heretic, not only potentially, but actually, and not only under their breath, but verbally and from the housetops! For, as St. Basil the Great said, “in worldly matters we are meek as lambs, but in matters of the faith we roar like lions!”


     It is clear that the Cyprianite hierarchs do not feel themselves to be successors of the Apostles “in the strict sense, full of Grace and power”. In this intuition they are correct: they are not. If they said this only of themselves, then we could commend their humility and have grounds for hoping that they were on their way to becoming what they are not now: successors of the Apostles in the strict sense. However, when they say this, not only of themselves, but of the Church as a whole, then they display an arrogance – and a lack of faith – that disqualifies them from that lofty dignity. That is why the dialogue had to stop. That is why the True Orthodox Church of Greece rightly declared that she does not have the same faith as the Cyprianites. For the Cyprianites want the True Orthodox hierarchs to emasculate themselves spiritually, to renounce their God-given right and duty to expel heretics from the Church of Christ, “only lest they themselves should suffer persecution for the Cross of Christ” (Galatians 6.12).


Vladimir Moss.

October 21 / November 3, 2009.

[1] “The Cessation of Informal Dialogue”,



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